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In which I am paying attention

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(What? You mean not everyone bargains with their tinies for a Smiling Picture with a terrifying Monster Face Picture?)

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We went to the woods. We do it because we want to live more deliberately. (Right, Mr. Thoreau?)

It is a bit inconvenient to go to the woods with tinies. But it’s worth it.

We do small excursions to places nearby. As they get older, we’ll go further and longer.

“If getting our kids out into nature is a search for perfection, or is one more chore, then the belief in perfection and the chore defeats the joy. It’s a good thing to learn more about nature in order to share this knowledge with children; it’s even better if the adult and child learn about nature together. And it’s a lot more fun.” – Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

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As Mary Oliver wrote so beautifully,

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

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This is me telling you – I saw beautiful things here.

And it feels like home somehow. I was astonished.

I’m trying to pay more attention to my life.

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(My talented mother-in-law snapped all of these photos near the Chilliwack River on the entrance path to the old railway tunnels.)

Continue Reading · local, photos, poetry · 16

In which I ask your opinion on the matter of head shots

My dear friend, Tina Francis of our SheLoves sisterhood, took a few photos of me for my upcoming author headshot.

(I’m trying to act like I write sentences like that all the time, but who are we kidding? I’m totally freaking out and excited.)

(This is the stuff I didn’t know about/think about. Head-shots. Who knew work went into the pictures of the writer on the dust jacket, eh?)

Well, at the sage advice of Laura and a few others, I went and had my make-up and hairs done for the big event, and then I met Tina and her friend, Sarah, at Crescent Beach for a few pictures.

(Aesthetician: So when was the last time you had your make-up done? Me: Um, my wedding twelve years ago? Her: *faint*)

We’ve had many a long conversation with my family and my friends about the pros vs. cons of Glasses and Non-Glasses. Right now: we’re thinking glasses for my social media self because I wear glasses every single day and it’s my usual self. But for the book, we’re thinking No Glasses because, let’s face it, these are rather “trendy” frames and in a year or two, they might look hilarious and dated for the long-haul of a physical book (at least you hope it’s a long haul….). And don’t even get us started on the whole Smile vs. No-Smile. (Here’s a sample: feminists have this stigma of being not fun or happy! You need to be smiling! No, no, it’s a serious and thoughtful book, you need to look serious and thoughtful….and so on.)

So here are the four we’ve narrowed down. I posted a picture on Instgram of us looking at them all and every one immediately weighed in with their favourites. So I thought maybe it would be fun to ask your opinion of our final four. I have a few others that I’ll use for other stuff but this is just for the author headshot on the book itself.

Which one would you choose for the official author photo?

help me pick a headshot

 

 

Continue Reading · miscellaneous, photos · 250

In which we live in a field of wishes

Up the hill from our house, there is a wide and empty field, right next to an old graveyard. It’s carpeted in dandelions and ringed with blackberry bushes. We head there at least once a week for a romp. Right now, the dandelions are past their prime, turned to ethereal grey mist, and because we blow them all over the field, making wishes, (we did this last year, too, so this may explain why the field is so full of dandelions….our bad, City of Abbotsford!), the tinies call it The Field of Wishes.

Last week, Brian was out of town on business, and out of sheer compassion and an understanding that I was probably desperate to talk to another grown-up by supper-time, my friend, Stephanie, called to invite us over to the field with her two kids and husband (who was a mighty good sport about hauling a turqoise dresser out to a field so that she could take pictures of their two delightful daughters, one of whom has become a dear friend to Anne). She’s a talented and busy photographer, she had her camera, there was a turquoise dresser, and next thing we knew, magic happened.

 

She posted a few of the photos over at her gorgeous blog, if you’d like to see (and you know you do….).

She didn’t ask me to do this next part: seriously, if you live in the Lower Mainland, you should totally book Retrospect Photography for some family photos. She also does weddings, maternity, and grad photos, too. Stephanie is incredibly good at what she does, clearly, but she’s also a good friend to me, kind, welcoming, generous. I’m so thankful for her family in our life, they are a wish come true for us.

Thank you again, Stephanie! We love you guys.

Continue Reading · Anne, Evelynn, Fraser Valley, friends, Joseph, local, photos · 12

In which my own Mum shares her Practices with us

Yep – that’s three-year-old me in the red snowsuit on the left.

I’m so honoured to welcome Joan, yes, my own mum! I asked her a week or two ago to contribute to the Practices of Parenting Carnival.

Anything good or life-giving in my mothering came from my parents (who have been beautifully married for nearly 37 years now). I cannot fathom going through my life without the constant grace and wisdom of my parents alongside me.


I have always loved being her daughter and now I love being her friend.


I miss the 80s sometimes.



My Practices of Mothering

by Joan Styles




I will attempt to put my heart into words on a page but it will definitely be a very small part of what mothering has meant to me.

I can honestly say that I didn’t give mothering too much thought before I became pregnant with Sarah.

However I quickly realized that I cared more for this little one forming on the inside of me than I had ever imagined possible! The very moment our little baby girl, Sarah Lynn, was born my focus changed.

Now I suddenly wanted to know how to be a good mother to her. I was so thankful when my friend, Maureen, came to visit me in the hospital in Regina to share her passion for breastfeeding. She told me all about breastfeeding and how important it was for baby and me, so that’s just what I did. At that time the term ‘attachment parenting’ wasn’t known to me, but that is exactly what it was. Day after day we grew closer, I never once passed up the opportunity to nurse my little one. What a beautiful gift we shared.

We trusted each other and to be honest, I was learning alongside her – learning to love.

But then I was now asking, what is love? Where does it actually come from? For me breastfeeding was where I saw God. I’m not sure how He used this simple act of nursing to draw me to Him but He did. It helped me to put Sarah needs ahead of my own – finally!


Giving my heart to my daughter was so natural and it started a journey of faith for me. It wasn’t too long after Sarah was born that I somehow knew in my heart that I didn’t have what it would take to love her, you know, unconditionally.

I would think to myself, “I love her so much!” But I was all of 23 years old at this time. I just didn’t have a confidence or trust that I’d know how to be a good mother. 

Thus my journey to find answers to my question began. I decided to go the church. I think I believed in God – my grandparents went to church and some childhood friends did too. So off we went and THAT WAS IT! God Is Love, and through HIS love for me I was able to give it to Sarah.

I met Jesus, My Lord and Savior, My beloved, My Helper, the One who first LOVED me. 1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

I realized very early in my days of mothering that if I had any hope of doing anything right, it would only be with and through my relationship with the Lord.

This is only a glimpse into my thoughts about mothering. I am so blessed to have two daughters, Sarah and Amanda. All these years later, I’m still learning from them both! I’m now a Granny of five beautiful, precious little Grandbabies. [Editor's Note: And a Grand-dog]

Maybe the best part is watching Sarah and Amanda as Mothers. They are devoted to their families and to the Lord. They are amazing Mothers! I love – love – love being their mother and totally love being Granny now to Anne, Joseph, Evelynn, Addison and Ariana.

Heart – and hands – are full.

Continue Reading · faith, journey, Mum, parenting, photos, Practices of Mothering · 45